In yet another proof that this is Beyoncé’s world and we’re all just her backup dancers, Queen Bey has just announced the launch of her new vegan app, 22 Days Meal Planner. The website states, “We want to challenge you as we challenge ourselves to move towards a more plant-based lifestyle and acknowledge you for standing up for your health and the health of the planet. -Beyoncé & Jay-Z”.
22 Days Meal Planner is an app that allows you to access thousands of vegan recipes, create a grocery list, and even get those ingredients delivered to your house via PeaPod or Amazon Fresh (select areas only). It also helps you track calories and gain real-time advice from food coaches. All of that comes to $99 a year, which is a fraction of what you would pay to hire a nutritionist/dietitian, especially one that caters to celebrities like 22 Days co-founder Marco Borges (who also works with Jennifer Lopez and Pharrell Williams).
The featured dishes definitely look scrumptious, and the user interface looks clear and easy to use. But before we go praising, it is worth noting that Beyoncé is definitely not vegan on a consistent basis–she has recently come back to it in order to prepare for Coachella. It is difficult for committed vegans (including yours truly) to praise flexitarians whenever they decide it’s good for their diet plans to dip in and out of the vegan pool. Mark Bittman of Vegan Before 6, et al, should really not be called “part-time vegan” but flexitarian or just omnivore.
Having said that, if we look at this from a results-focused perspective, a star of Beyoncé’s caliber launching a vegan app is going to inspire more people to try it. And even if their initial motivation is just to 1) eat exactly like Beyonce and 2) lose weight, when they start to feel healthier they will stick to it for their own, more holistic reasons. It is worth noting too that Bey talks about her being motivated by “the health of the planet,” so perhaps more people will make a connection between their food and *climate change*, if not exactly animal rights.
My hope is that more people also experience the kind of unexpected mental and spiritual change I also went through upon becoming vegan, which is to feel more connected to nature and other living beings. It’s true that compassion leads to veganism, but it’s also true that veganism leads to compassion.
My one last critique about 22 Days Meal Planner (I know, grouchy me) is the grocery delivery portion. Grocery delivery creates massive amount of packaging waste that is completely unnecessary if you just do the shopping yourself. Buying fresh herbs and spices you need for just one dinner sounds great until everything comes in its own plastic packaging, which doesn’t biodegrade *forever* in a landfill and kills 100,000 marine mammals a year. Every single seabird on Earth is eating plastic, according to the National Geographic. This can all be avoided if you take your own shopping tote to the farmer’s market or the natural store. Plus, what’s that cardboard box/crate thing made out of? Whether it’s recycled or new, it has to have come from trees, and illegal logging is decimating wildlife in places like the boreal forest of Russia, which is one of the Earth’s carbon sinks helping absorb the worst brunt of climate change. So don’t just think this is an innocent brown box!
If you do decide to try eating like Beyoncé and giving 22 Days a go, we recommend using its functionalities but shopping for groceries on your own. It’s relaxing, you’ll get more choices and the freshest picks, and avoid obesogen contamination from excessive packaging–and the Earth will thank you too.
Have you ever tried a meal-planning app? Or a vegan food app?
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Photo: Beyoncé via Instagram, 22 Days Meal Plan